Alabama seafood industry survives Isaac
Alabama’s seafood industry survived Hurricane Isaac with barely a scratch compared to Katrina seven years ago, but the storm could still cost millions in losses.
Dozens of shrimp boats remained tied up at docks in Bayou La Batre on Thursday, unable to resume work because of high seas. Processing plants were closed because of Isaac, and the main road along the waterfront was flooded, along with a few neighborhoods where workers live.
But the storm caused virtually no damage to buildings or vessels, which was the best news possible to an industry with an estimated economic impact of USD 100 million annually that is still recovering from fallout of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010. The mild impact from Isaac was in stark contrast to what happened during Katrina in 2005, when huge shrimp boats came to rest amid trees and remained there for months.
“We’re just going to lose a week of work, and that’s not too bad,” said Dominick Ficarino as he looked over the flooded road outside Dominick's Seafood. The company has seven trawlers and one of the largest shrimp processing houses on the entire Gulf Coast.
Still, the cost of lost work and missed sales adds up quickly. The president of the Organized Seafood Association of Alabama, Ernie Anderson, said the storm could cost the industry as much as USD å3 million in lost sales during a week or more of lost work.